TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, November 18, 2016

Pomona President Denies Wrongdoing As IRS Complaint Filed Against College For Funding Anti-Trump Student Protesters

PomonaFollowing up on Wednesday's post, Pomona College May Have Violated 501(c)(3) Tax Status To Fund Anti-Trump Student Protesters:  The Claremont Independent, President Oxtoby Denies Wrongdoing as IRS Complaint Filed Against Pomona College, by Matthew Reade & Ross Steinberg:

The Claremont Independent has learned that a concerned individual has lodged a complaint with the IRS in response to Pomona College’s promotion and funding of an anti-Trump rally.

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November 18, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News | Permalink | Comments (3)

TIGTA: IRS Exposed 28 Million Taxpayers To Identity Theft By Sending Unencrypted Email

Washington Times, IRS Exposed Taxpayers’ Info Through Shoddy Emails, Audit Shows:

A surprising number of IRS employees are sending unencrypted emails containing personal taxpayer information to private accounts, putting that information at risk of being stolen, the agency’s inspector general said Thursday.

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November 18, 2016 in Gov't Reports, IRS News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Law Students Protest SNAILS In The Library: Students Not Actually In Law School

SnailThe Gauntlet, U of C Law Students Raise Concerns Over Other Faculties Using Library:

There’s a problem with SNAILS in the Bennett Jones Law Library in Murray Fraser Hall — but not the kind you’re probably thinking of.

According to Students’ Union law representative Mark Shearer, some University of Calgary law students have recently complained about a high number of “Students Not Actually In Law School” (SNAILS) studying in the Bennett Jones library.

In Canada and the United States, “SNAILS” is a popular term used by law students to describe non-law students. “It’s kind of an unfortunate term but the acronym seems to work quite well,” Shearer said. ...

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November 18, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1289:  Federal Judge To IRS—‘Strong Showing’ Of Discrimination Against Tea Party Group

IRS Logo 2USA Today, Judge to IRS: ‘Strong Showing’ on Tea Party Bias Claim:

A federal judge ruled this month in a lawsuit in the ongoing IRS-Tea Party saga that there was "a strong showing" that the agency had discriminated against conservative groups because of their political stances.

And U.S. District Court Judge Michael R. Barrett wrote in a decision that a particular group suing the IRS "has made a strong showing of a likelihood of success" on its claim that its free speech rights were violated by the delay in processing the application.

He ordered the IRS to continue processing the application from the group, called the Texas Patriots Tea Party, even as the IRS fights the group’s lawsuit.

"The Government appears not to see the forest through the trees when it uses the existence of this lawsuit as grounds to continue the delay that is the subject of this lawsuit," Barrett wrote in his Nov. 4 decision. "The evidence strongly suggests that the IRS initiated the delay" because the Texas group was affiliated with the tea party. ...

The latest ruling could set a precedent in the ongoing saga over alleged unfair treatment of such organizations and make it easier for them to go through the non-profit application process, lawyers in the case say. That's because it could force the IRS to speed up and reconfigure how it determines whether such groups can get nonprofit status throughout its system, and not just for the individual Texas group.

"We are suing in part for what we think is a violation of our First Amendment right to free speech, and we feel this ruling gives us that," said Kansas City-based lawyer Eddie Greim who is one of the lead lawyers for the Tea Party groups in the case. "If it holds up, this could establish the basic principle that the IRS will be judged on in the future."

The IRS declined comment on the case Thursday, citing its policy not to discuss any litigation against the agency.

The Texas Patriots lawsuit reached class action status in January and now includes several other conservative groups. A total of four lawsuits against the IRS are still alive nationally, including two filed in Washington, D.C. The latest ruling involves the Texas organization alone.

All the suits were filed shortly after IRS officials in 2013 acknowledged they had singled out conservative-leaning "public interest" groups for extra attention while reviewing their applications for nonprofit status. Such a designation allows people to donate with no tax penalty, and such groups can conduct some political activity as long as it is not "the majority" of their actions.

Conservative groups claimed that the slow process put a chill on such contributions during the 2012 election cycle, raising the possibility that the scrutiny was a way to slow down fundraising and campaigning by conservatives by the Obama administration.

That led to a major scandal and several investigations by Congress, the Justice Department and even with the IRS itself. It also caused the resignations or firings of several top IRS officials, including then-Commissioner Steven Miller as well as other administrators tied to the targeting.

An FBI and Justice Department investigation found in 2015 that the IRS's nonprofit approval system was rife with mismanagement and poor judgment, but that there wasn't enough evidence to prove that IRS agents acted in political ways or should be criminally prosecuted.

But the IRS completely stopped processing the Texas group's nonprofit application that was originally filed in 2012 once the suit was filed, saying it had lost jurisdiction because of the ongoing case.

Barrett ruled that process should continue, but also that the IRS could use neither the previous process it used for such conservative groups nor the expedited replacement system the agency offered after the scandal broke. ...

It's unclear how these cases will be handled by the incoming Trump administration, although one conservative watchdog group is asking that investigations into the scandal be resumed once President-elect Trump takes office. ...

Judicial Watch this week released more than a thousand new documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that show officials in Cincinnati and Washington knew IRS agents in Cincinnati were targeting conservative groups by their party affiliations and by "guilt by association." ...

"We're getting document after document showing the IRS both in Washington and Cincinnati knew that people were doing things outside the rules," Judicial Watch's Finton said. "If they were asking inappropriate questions based on guilt by association or party affiliations, then I don't know what more you need to show that something inappropriate was going on, if not illegal."

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November 18, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

After Denying Provisional Accreditation, ABA Gives Reprieve To Dallas Law School

UNT 2Following up on my previous posts on the ABA's denial of provisional accreditation to Dallas Law School (links below):  the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar announced today that it is sending the school’s application back to the accreditation committee for additional review:

In light of the law school’s appearance and the new evidence offered, the Council adopted a motion that remanded the matter to the Accreditation Committee for further consideration in accordance with the provisions of Rule 25(b)(4), and directed a fact finder, in accordance with Rule 9, to visit the law school to review and verify the new evidence, in particular, the reliable plan submitted by the school. The fact finder shall submit a report to the Accreditation Committee. The Council directed that the fact finder and the Accreditation Committee particularly focus their attention on all matters related to admissions and finances (Standards 501(a), (b), and (c); Standard 202(a) and the reliable plan related to these matters.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Century Foundation Conference:  Paying For Progress—A Tax Reform Agenda For The Next President

CennturyThe Century Foundation hosts a conference today on Paying for Progress: A Tax Reform Agenda for the Next President:

Panel 1:  A Federal Budget for Equity and Fairness

  • Josh Bivens (Economic Policy Institute)
  • Jane Gravelle (Congressional Research Service)
  • Christian Dorsey (Economic Policy Institute) (moderator)

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November 17, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Indiana Dean:  The ABA's Troubling Focus On The Bar Exam

ABA Section On Legal Education (2016)Indiana Lawyer: A Troubling Focus by the ABA on the Bar Exam, by Austen Parrish (Dean, Indiana):

For those in legal education, the bar exam has oddly emerged as a key focus. The ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions recently recommended a new accreditation standard. If the ABA’s House of Delegates approves it in February, law schools with a bar pass rate below 75 percent over a two-year period could lose their accreditation. This proposal has teeth, particularly as the pass rate in many states has plummeted. In Indiana, the pass rate fell to 64 percent from 75 percent just one year ago.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Will Indiana Tech Law School Donors Get Refunds?

Indiana Tech (2016)ABA Journal, Will Indiana Tech Law School Donors Get Refunds?:

After making five-figure scholarship donations to Indiana Tech School of Law, some attorneys are wondering what will happen with their money.

Eric Welch, a Muncie lawyer with his own firm, told Indiana Lawyer that he was “very disappointed” with the law school’s Oct. 31 announcement that it would close. He pledged $20,000 to the law school in 2013, to endow scholarships, and hopes that his donation will be returned.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

ABA Places Charlotte Law School On Probation, Censures Valparaiso

CVFollowing up on my previous post, Ave Maria's Admissions Policies Violate ABA Standards, Law School Required To Take Immediate Remedial Action:  ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Statement on Accreditation Actions Regarding Charlotte School of Law and Valparaiso University School of Law:

At its October 20-22, 2016, meeting, the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar conducted separate hearings on appeals by Charlotte School of Law (Charlotte) and Valparaiso University School of Law (Valparaiso) of decisions from the Accreditation Committee that each school was out of compliance with certain ABA Accreditation Standards. The Council’s decisions were communicated to the schools on Monday, November 14, 2016 and have been made public on November 15.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

These Professors Make More Than A Thousand Bucks An Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers

Pro PublicaProPublica, These Professors Make More Than a Thousand Bucks an Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers:

The economists are leveraging their academic prestige with secret reports justifying corporate concentration. Their predictions are often wrong and consumers pay the price.

If the Government ends up approving the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger, credit won’t necessarily belong to the executives, bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists pushing for the deal. More likely, it will be due to the professors.

A serial acquirer, AT&T must persuade the government to allow every major deal. Again and again, the company has relied on economists from America’s top universities to make its case before the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission. Moonlighting for a consulting firm named Compass Lexecon, they represented AT&T when it bought Centennial, DirecTV, and Leap Wireless; and when it tried unsuccessfully to absorb T-Mobile. And now AT&T and Time Warner have hired three top Compass Lexecon economists to counter criticism that the giant deal would harm consumers and concentrate too much media power in one company.

Today, “in front of the government, in many cases the most important advocate is the economist and lawyers come second,” said James Denvir, an antitrust lawyer at Boies, Schiller.

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November 17, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Former Law School Dean Accused Of Sexual Harassment Drops Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against UC-Berkeley

The IRS Scandal, Day 1288:  Top IRS Official Says Agency Targeted Conservative Groups Based on ‘Guilt By Association’ And ‘Party Affiliation’

IRS Logo 2Judicial Watch Press Release, New Documents Reveal Top Obama IRS Official Admitted Cincinnati Office Targeted Groups Based on ‘Guilt by Association’:

Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained 1593 pages of new documents from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), including notes from a 2011 interoffice meeting revealing a top IRS official admitted that Cincinnati office agents were targeting organizations requesting tax exempt status based on “guilt by association” and “party affiliation.” According to former IRS Director of the Office of Rulings and Agreements Holly Paz, “they think they know what the org is really doing, rather than looking at actual activities.” ...

“This further confirms the IRS knew about abuses years before they were exposed. President Trump needs to reopen the criminal investigation of the IRS as soon as he is sworn into office,” said Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton.

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November 17, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (10)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Burman Presents Is U.S. Corporate Income Double-Taxed? Today At Pennsylvania

Burman (2016)Leonard E. Burman (Tax Policy Center) presents Is U.S. Corporate Income Double-Taxed? (with Kimberly Clausing (Reed College)) at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Chris Sanchirico and Reed Shuldiner:

Every public finance student learns that corporations are subject to two levels of taxation—at the company level through the corporate income tax and the individual level through taxation of dividends and capital gains. Though observers frequently lament this double taxation of equity-financed corporate investment, double taxation is not important per se; the issue is the overall level of tax. (Most investors would prefer two 10 percent taxes to a single 30 percent tax.) Still, the overall effective tax rate depends on both corporate and individual income taxes.

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November 16, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Shanske Presents Equitable Apportionment In The Age Of Single Sales Factor Apportionment Today At Northwestern

ShanskeDarien Shanske (UC-Davis) presents What is Equitable Apportionment For in the Age of Single Sales Factor Apportionment? A Study of the Evolution of State Corporate Income Taxes at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Workshop Series hosted by Sarah Lawsky:

Over 40 states impose a corporate income tax. Each of these states use a formula to apportion the share of a multistate corporation’s income to the state. All of these states also permit both the government and the taxpayer to challenge the result of the formula if the results “do not fairly represent the extent of the taxpayer’s business activity in this State.” This is equitable apportionment. Needless to say, terms such as “fair” invite dispute, but it seemed there was at least some sense of how equitable apportionment was to work, at least until recently.

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November 16, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pomona College May Have Violated 501(c)(3) Tax Status To Fund Anti-Trump Student Protesters

PomonaThe Claremont Independent: Pomona College May Have Violated 501(c)(3) Tax Status to Fund Anti-Trump Protesters, by Matthew Reade & Ross Steinberg:

By funding the transportation of students to and from anti-Trump rallies in the Los Angeles area with tuition dollars, Pomona College’s Draper Center for Community Partnership may have violated IRS regulations prohibiting tax-exempt educational institutions from engaging in partisan political activity. ...

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November 16, 2016 in Legal Education, Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Access Group Legal Education Research Symposium

Access GroupAccess Group Legal Education Research Symposium:

[T]he Access Group Legal Education Research Symposium offers law school deans, administrators, faculty and researchers from across the nation the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions on the most critical issues facing legal education today.

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November 16, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

What's Happened To The University? A Sociological Exploration Of Its Infantilisation

University 2Wall Street Journal:  Free Thought Under Siege, by Daniel Shuchman (reviewing Frank Furedi, What's Happened to the University? A Sociological Exploration of its Infantilisation (Routledge 2016)):

Rancorous trends such as microaggressions, safe spaces, trigger warnings and intellectual intolerance have taken hold at universities with breathtaking speed. Last year’s controversy over Halloween costumes at Yale led to the departure of two respected faculty members, and this year made the fall festival a flashpoint of conflict at campuses across the country. The recent explosion in the number of university administrators, coupled with an environment of perpetual suspicion—the University of Florida urges students to report on one another to its “Bias Education and Response Team”—drives students who need to resolve normal tensions in human interaction to instead seek intervention by mediators, diversity officers, student life deans or lawyers.

As Frank Furedi compellingly argues in this deeply perceptive and important book, these phenomena are not just harmless fads acted out by a few petulant students and their indulgent professors in an academic cocoon. Rather, they are both a symptom and a cause of malaise and strife in society at large. At stake is whether freedom of thought will long survive and whether individuals will have the temperament to resolve everyday social and workplace conflicts without bureaucratic intervention or litigation.

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November 16, 2016 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

ABA Tax Section Publishes November 2016 Issue Of Tax Times

ABA Tax Times (2016)The ABA Tax Section has published 36 Tax Times No. 1 (Nov. 2016):

Boston Meeting Successes, and More to Come
We had a great joint meeting in Boston with the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section at the end of September. There were approximately 1,100 in attendance, and I was inspired by the enthusiasm about the activities of the Tax Section for the coming year. We have a lot of work to do, and we are going to have a good time doing it.

Interview with Anne-Marie Rábago
By Tom Greenaway, KPMG LLP, Boston, MA
Anne-Marie Rábago recently joined the State Bar of Texas as Director of the Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator in Austin. We interviewed her at the Joint Fall Meeting in Boston to talk about the incubator movement and the access to justice gap.

Implications of Bitcoin Not Being Actual Currency: The Espinoza Case
By Joni Larson, Professor, Indiana Tech Law School, Fort Wayne, IN
Bitcoin is not the first virtual currency. It has, however, garnered significant attention by being embroiled in several scandals. Through the lens of the Espinoza case, this article examinations the tax implications of selling bitcoin.

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November 16, 2016 in ABA Tax Section, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Muller:  The Coming Reckoning For Non-JD Legal Education, As Enrollments Soar And Bar Passage Rates Hover At 30% For Foreign LLMs

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), The Coming Reckoning for Non-JD Legal Education:

As JD enrollment falls and non-JD enrollment increases at law schools, leading to a dramatic increase in the percentage of legal education focused on a non-JD student body, it's worth considering what non-JD legal education looks like, where it's going, and what the future may hold. It's a story of some unusual and under-discussed factors that portend a coming reckoning....

As I've noted before, one in ten students enrolled in law schools in the United States are not part of a JD program, a number likely to continue to rise:


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November 16, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1287:  Koskinen Urges Trump Transition Team To Name New IRS Commissioner Soon

IRS Logo 2The Hill, IRS Chief Urges Trump Team to Consider Replacement Soon:

The head of the IRS said Tuesday it’s in the best interest of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team to act early when mulling options for his potential replacement.

“One of my concerns for a little while has been, whoever won, they need to understand that, no matter what happens, my term runs out next November,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told reporters after an American Institute of CPA's conference Tuesday.

He said Trump's team would be best served by making sure they have someone to put through the confirmation process by mid-spring in order to prevent a leadership drop off next November. ...

He said that he hopes meetings with the Trump’s transition team will begin soon.

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November 16, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dynarski Presents Tax Benefits Of College Attendance Today At Columbia

DynarskiSusan Dynarski (Michigan) presents Tax Benefits of College Attendance at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

National efforts to promote college enrollment are increasingly delivered through tax-based assistance, including tax credits and deductions for tuition and fees, tax-advantaged college savings plans, and student loan interest deductions. This paper outlines the main tax-based student aid programs and describes their history and growth over time. We then provide an economic perspective on tax-based student aid, and an assessment of their impact on student behavior. We conclude with a discussion of what the tax system does particularly well and what it does particularly poorly in comparison to traditional Department of Education-based student aid programs, and highlight opportunities for productive reform. 

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November 15, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Viard Presents Progressive Consumption Taxation: The X-Tax Revisited At NYU

PCT 2Alan Viard (American Enterprise Institute) presented Progressive Consumption Taxation: The X Tax Revisited (2012) at NYU yesterday as part of its High-End Inequality Colloquium Series (more here) hosted by Robert Frank (Cornell) and Dan Shaviro (NYU):

The United States is alone among industrialized countries in having no broad-based consumption tax at the national level. Yet, economic analysis suggests that consumption taxation is likely to be superior to income taxation, because it does not penalize saving and investment. This book proposes to completely replace the income tax system with a progressive consumption tax. This approach avoids the problems arising from the adoption of a consumption tax alongside the income tax and also avoids the distributional problems posed by regressive consumption taxes, such as the VAT.

This book argues that the Bradford X tax, developed by the late David Bradford, offers the best form of progressive consumption taxation. The X tax modifies the VAT, so that it no longer imposes a flat-rate tax on all consumption. It splits the value-added tax base, which equals aggregate consumption, into two components, wages and business cash flow. The X tax achieves progressivity by applying graduated tax rates to wages and a high flat tax rate to business cash flow, which reflects consumption financed from wealth accumulated prior to the reform and from above-normal business investment returns, which largely accrue to well-off households.

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November 15, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Access Group Invites Proposals For $50,000 Grants For Legal Education Research

Access GroupFollowing up on yesterday's post, Access Group Awards $1.28 Million In Grants To Six Law Schools, ABA & ABF:  Request For Proposals, Access Group/AIR 2016 Research and Dissertation Fellows Grant Program:

The Access Group Center for Research & Policy Analysis, in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research(AIR), is excited to announce the 2016 Research and Dissertation Fellows Program. The Fellows program is a grant competition promoting scholarship on issues related to access, affordability and value of legal education specifically, and graduate and professional education more broadly. Two types of grants are available to support year-long research projects-$50,000 Research Grants and $25,000 Doctoral Grants.

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November 15, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (5)

Kamin:  Getting Americans To Save—In Defense Of (Reformed) Tax Incentives

David Kamin (NYU), Getting Americans to Save: In Defense of (Reformed) Tax Incentives, 69 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2016):

According to the most recent literature, one of the primary systems for getting Americans to save more — a system of tax-preferred retirement accounts — is fundamentally broken and should be abandoned. This system of 401(k)s, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), and other tax-preferred accounts cost the government about $80 billion per year, and influential new research by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and co-authors — among others — suggests that tax incentives like these are unable to substantially increase private saving. However, this case against tax incentives is overstated.

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November 15, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Grewal:  Trump’s Broad Powers To Revoke Tax Regulations Issued By The Obama Administration

Trump (President Elect)Andy Grewal (Iowa), Trump’s Broad Powers to Revoke Tax Regulations Issued By the Obama Administration, Yale J. on Reg.: Notice & Comment (Nov. 14, 2016):

The IRS was actively involved in implementing various policy objectives of the Obama Administration and issued various controversial regulations, including those dealing with the Affordable Care Act. With Donald Trump soon to step into the Oval Office, one may wonder about the extent to which the Trump Administration can reverse regulations issued by the Treasury/IRS over the past 8 years.

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November 15, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN LogoSSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 750 American and international law school faculties and 3,000 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN database.  Here is the new list (through November 1, 2016) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):







Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)


Reuven Avi-Yonah (Mich.)



Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)


Michael Simkovic (S. Hall)



Paul Caron (Pepperdine)


Lily Batchelder (NYU)



D. Dharmapala (Chicago)


D. Dharmapala (Chicago)



Louis Kaplow (Harvard)


Paul Caron (Pepperdine)



Vic Fleischer (San Diego)


Richard Ainsworth (BU)



James Hines (Michigan)


Ed Kleinbard (USC)



Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)


Dan Shaviro (NYU)



Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)



Ed Kleinbard (USC)


William Byrnes (Texas A&M)



Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)


Jeff Kwall (Loyola-Chicago)



Richard Ainsworth (BU)


Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)



Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)


Louis Kaplow (Harvard)



Brad Borden (Broklyn)


David Weisbach (Chicago)



Carter Bishop (Suffolk)


Vic Fleischer (San Diego)



David Weisbach (Chicago)


Steven Bank (UCLA)



Jen Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)


Chris Hoyt (UMKC)



Chris Sanchirico (Penn)


Yariv Brauner (Florida)



Francine Lipman (UNLV)


Brad Borden (Brooklyn)



Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)


Brian Galle (Georgetown)



Dan Shaviro (NYU)


Nancy McLaughlin (Utah)



Bridget Craford (Pace)


Katie Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)



David Walker (Boston Univ.)


Jack Manhire (Texas A&M)



Steven Bank (UCLA)


Francine Lipman (UNLV)



Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)


Richard Kaplan (Illinois)


Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

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November 15, 2016 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Prof Rankings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Symposium: Fifteen Law School Deans/Former Deans On The Future Of Legal And Higher Education

Syracuse Logo (2016)Richard A. Matasar Symposium, The Future of Legal and Higher Education, 66 Syracuse L. Rev. 419-729 (2016):

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November 15, 2016 in Conferences, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1286:  Rep. Jordan Says He Will Continue To Push For IRS Chief’s Impeachment

IRS Logo 2Politico, Jordan Says He Will Continue Push for IRS Chief’s Impeachment:

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan is still pushing to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen as lawmakers return to Washington for the lame-duck session.

Jordan renewed the call for impeachment in a statement to POLITICO Monday criticizing the agency for denying tax-exempt status to the Albuquerque Tea Party group. The decision on the group — one of three stalled reviews the IRS agreed to expedite after a judge excoriated the agency for continued delays in August — came last week.

Rep. Jim Jordan Statement on IRS Denying Albuquerque Tea Party Non-Profit Status:

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) made the following statement regarding the decision by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to deny the Albuquerque Tea Party non-profit status after delaying its application for almost seven years as part of the IRS targeting scandal:

“After seven years of stonewalling, targeting and harassing the Albuquerque Tea Party, the IRS has yet again blocked the group’s non-profit status without any explanation. This decision is a reminder that when a federal judge recently said that targeting was still going on, he meant it.

“This is further evidence that the IRS has not changed its ways, and shows that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen continues in his dereliction of duty. Congress must move forward on impeaching him.”

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November 15, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, November 14, 2016

July 2016 New York Bar Exam Results: Pass Rate Increases 4% After Adoption Of UBE

NYThe July 2016 New York bar passage rates by school are out. Here are the results for first time test takers for the 15 New York ABA-approved law schools, along with each school's U.S. News ranking (New York and overall).

Bar Pass

Rank (Rate)



US News Rank

NY (Overall)

1 (97.5%)


2 (6)

2 (96.2%)


1 (4)

3 (93.2%)


3 (13)

4 (89.5%)


7 (86)

5 (88.5%)


4 (37)

6 (83.0%)


8 (97)


Statewide Average

7 (82.7%)


12 (129)

8 (79.5%)


5 (74)

9 (76.5%)

St. John's

5 (74)

10 (75.0%)


13 (131)

11 (73.0%)


9 (100)

12 (71.0%)


14 (136)

13 (70.3%)

New York Law School

10 (111)

14 (64.1%)


10 (111)

15 (62.0%)


15 (Tier 2)

New York Law Journal, Bar Exam Pass Rate Rose for Many Schools in First Year of UBE:

Graduates of New York law schools who took the July bar exam—the first time the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) was administered—improved the state's pass rate by 4 percentage points, to 83 percent, bouncing back from its lowest rate in a decade. ...

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November 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Blank Presents The Timing Of Tax Transparency Today In London

Blank (2016)Joshua D. Blank (NYU) presents The Timing of Tax Transparency, 90 S. Cal. L. Rev. ___ (2017), at Queen Mary University of London School of Law today as part of its Centre for Commercial Law Studies Speaker Series:

Fairness in the administration of the tax law is the subject of intense debate in the United States. As recent headlines reveal, the Internal Revenue Service has been accused of failing to enforce the tax law equitably in its review of tax-exempt status applications by political organizations, the international tax structures of multinational corporations, and the estate tax returns of millionaires, among other areas. Many have argued that greater “tax transparency” would better empower the public to hold the IRS accountable and the IRS to defend itself against accusations of malfeasance. Mandatory public disclosure of taxpayers’ tax return information is often proposed as a way to achieve greater tax transparency. Yet, in addition to concerns regarding exposure of personal and proprietary information, broad public disclosure measures pose potential threats to the taxing authority’s ability to enforce the tax law.

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November 14, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

McLaughlin Presents Keeping The Perpetual In Tax-Deductible Perpetual Conservation Easements Today At Loyola-L.A.

McLaughlinNancy McLaughlin (Utah) presents Keeping the Perpetual in Tax-Deductible Perpetual Conservation Easements at Loyola-L.A. today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Ellen Aprill and Katherine Pratt:

Section § 170(h) of the Internal Revenue Code authorizes a federal charitable income tax deduction for the donation of conservation easements and façade easements provided, among other things, that the easements are “granted in perpetuity” and their conservation purposes are “protected in perpetuity.” This deduction has been one of the driving forces behind the dramatic growth in the use of easements as land protection and historic preservation tools over the last several decades. The deduction has also, however, been subject to abuse. Over the past decade, courts have issued more than eighty opinions in cases involving challenges to claimed § 170(h) deductions. This case law reveals various forms of noncompliance and abuse, including persistent overvaluation of easements, failure to properly substantiate the claimed deductions, failure to satisfy one or more of the conservation purposes tests set forth in § 170(h), and failure to comply with “perpetuity” requirements set forth in § 170(h) and the Treasury Regulations.

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November 14, 2016 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Access Group Awards $1.28 Million In Grants To Six Law Schools, ABA & ABF

Access GroupPress Release, Access Group Center for Research & Policy Analysis® Awards $1.2 M to Promote Diversity and Access:

Access Group’s Center for Research & Policy Analysis® recently announced the award of $1,280,000 in grants to promote access, diversity and research in legal education.

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November 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

NY Times:  Trump And Congress Both Want Tax Cuts. The Question Is Which Ones.

New York Times, Trump and Congress Both Want Tax Cuts. The Question Is Which Ones.:

Several economic issues divide many Republicans in Congress from Donald J. Trump, the Republican president-elect. Free trade versus tariffs to limit imports. Immigration reform versus a border wall. Cutting Social Security and other benefit programs versus protecting them.

But one economic matter unites just about every member of the Republican party: support for tax cuts, particularly for those at the top of the income ladder.

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November 14, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

NTA 109th Annual Conference On Taxation

National Tax Association (2016)The three-day National Tax Association 109th Annual Conference on Taxation concluded Saturday in Baltimore. Saturday's highlights included:

Session 72:  Taxation and Wealth
Session Organizer:  John Brooks (Georgetown) 
Session Chair:  John Brooks (Georgetown)

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November 14, 2016 in Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Indiana Tech:  Another Law School Lesson Ignored

ALITFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  The American Lawyer: Indiana Tech: Another Law School Lesson Ignored, by Steven J. Harper (Adjunct Professor, Northwestern):

A law school that never should have existed bites the dust; the systemic problems remain.

Back in 2013, when Indiana Tech opened the state's fifth law school, I wrote that the decision was the latest example of pervasive legal market dysfunction. As the number of applicants declined, marginal schools increasingly were admitting students who wouldn't be able to pass the bar, much less get decent jobs requiring a JD. Schools such as Indiana Tech were continuing to inflate the growing lawyer bubble, which was also the title of my 2013 book. (Proving that some things never change, it came out in paperback earlier this year.)

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November 14, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1285:  After Six Year Delay And One Court Order, IRS Denies Two Of Three Tea Party Applications For Tax-Exempt Status

IRS Logo 2Washington Times, After Years of IRS Delay, 2 Tea Party Groups Denied Tax-Exempt Status:

Nearly seven years after it applied to the IRS for nonprofit status, the Albuquerque Tea Party has finally been given a decision: Denied.

The tax agency, under orders from a federal judge, is belatedly tackling the remaining tea party cases that it delayed for years, and so far the tea party isn’t doing well. Only one of the three groups in the case was approved, and the other two, including Albuquerque, got notices of proposed denials last week.

The applicants will have a chance to appeal, but the denials aren’t sitting well with the groups, whose attorney said it’s more evidence that the IRS continues to single out the tea party for abuse. “It is clear that we still have an IRS that is corrupt and incapable of self-correction,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, which represented a number of tea party groups in a case against the tax agency.

The one group that was approved was Unite in Action, a Michigan-based organization that first applied for tax-exempt status more than six years ago. The Albuquerque Tea Party and Tri Cities Tea Party from Washington state were notified of proposed denials.

Still to come is a decision on Texas Patriots Tea Party, a group that is part of a separate class-action lawsuit out of Ohio. A judge in that case ruled late last month that the IRS was likely violating the group’s First Amendment rights by delaying its application and ordered the tax agency to process and decide on the application.

The IRS, which declined to comment on the new decisions, admitted in court that it did subject the tea party groups to intrusive scrutiny, singling them out because of their political viewpoints and forcing them to go through hurdles that other groups didn’t face.

Jay Sekulow (American Center for Law and Justice), Continuing the Fight Against IRS Corruption in Federal Court:

As we continue our fight at the ACLJ against the lawless, unconstitutional Obama Administration’s IRS targeting of grassroots conservatives, we are achieving important victories.

But the fight also continues in federal court to ensure justice for all 38 of our clients from 22 states across the country. We must not stop fighting the IRS corruption until there is true justice and assurances that no American will ever be targeted by the IRS for his or her beliefs ever again.

Three of our remaining clients have received determinations from the IRS in recent weeks after a significant victory in which a federal judge ordered the IRS to issue determinations within 30 days.

Michigan-based Unite in Action – after waiting for more than six years – has been approved by the IRS.

Two other clients – Albuquerque Tea Party from New Mexico and Tri Cities Tea Party from Washington State – received proposed denials regarding their applications. The lengthy delays in receiving these determinations underscores the continuing problems inside the Obama Administration’s IRS.

It is clear that we still have an IRS that is corrupt and incapable of self-correction. We're pleased Unite in Action has finally received its approval after lengthy delays. We're now in the process of reviewing the proposed denials in the other two cases as we aggressively move forward with our federal lawsuit against the IRS to ensure it is bound by the U.S. Constitution and the law protecting the fundamental freedoms of speech and association that serve as the bedrock to this great nation.

As we continue fighting against the Executive lawlessness in federal court, please sign our petition to join the fight – for freedom and for the Constitution.

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November 14, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 13, 2016

NY Times:  Donald Trump’s Proposed Tax Changes May Encourage Dynastic Wealth

Trump (President Elect)New York Times: Trump’s Changes to the Tax Codes May Encourage Dynastic Wealth, by Paul Sullivan:

If Donald J. Trump follows through on his campaign promises, a host of taxes that affect only the very richest Americans may be eliminated, along with almost all tax incentives to be philanthropic. As a result, wealthy families may find it much easier to amass dynastic levels of wealth.

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November 13, 2016 in Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Donald Trump’s Plans For Law Student Debt

Trump (President Elect)Above the Law, What Are Donald Trump’s Plans For Law School Debt

President-elect Trump — a man who ran his own for-profit “college” — has claimed to support income-based loan repayment plans. During a speech given in October, he even went so far as to propose an income-based repayment plan that is more generous than those that are currently offered. From TIME Money:

Under his proposal, graduates would pay 12.5% of their income for 15 years, after which the remaining balance would be forgiven. “You graduate from college and you’re starting out with like an anchor around your neck,” he said in the speech. “No good. It’s no good.”

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November 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

The Top 5 Tax Paper Downloads

SSRN LogoThis week's list of the Top 5 Recent Tax Paper Downloads is the same as last week's list. The #1 paper is now #19 in all-time downloads among 12,338 tax papers:

  1. [4,345 Downloads]  Families Facing Tax Increases Under Trump's Latest Tax Plan, by Lily L. Batchelder (NYU)
  2. [444 Downloads]  Aggressive Tax Planning & the Ethical Tax Lawyer, by Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings)
  3. [285 Downloads]  The Up-C Revolution, by Gregg D. Polsky (Georgia) & Adam H. Rosenzweig (Washington University)
  4. [254 Downloads]  Estate Planning for Digital Assets: Assigning Tax Basis and Value to Digital Assets, by Elizabeth Ruth Carter (LSU)
  5. [242 Downloads]  Taxation and Human Rights: A Delicate Balance, by Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) & Gianluca Mazzoni (S.J.D. 2017, Michigan)

November 13, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax, Top 5 Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Dan Markel Murder Case: Who Is (Or Was) Paying The Killers' Attorneys' Fees?

Magnauba GarciaWXTL, Attorneys Request Waived Lawyer Fees for Suspect in FSU Law Professor Death:

A request has been put in from one of the men charged in the death of Florida State law professor Dan Markel to waive his lawyer fees because he can no longer afford them.

Sigfredo Garcia's attorneys filed the motion on Tuesday to request that his lawyer fees be waived due to his ex-wife Katherine Magbanua's arrest and charges as a co-defendant in the case involving Markel's death.

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November 13, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1284:  Podesta Friend At DOJ Led Cover-Up Of IRS Scandal

IRS Logo 2Polizette, Podesta Friend at DOJ Led Cover-Up of IRS Scandal:

Senior Department of Justice official Peter J. Kadzik, newly exposed by WikiLeaks as colluding with Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, is the same Obama appointee who helped cover up the Internal Revenue Service’s deliberate targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups. ...

[Lois] Lerner refused to testify at congressional hearings, instead invoking her Fifth Amendment rights to avoid possible self-incrimination. Congressional investigators found that the IRS targeted right-of-center 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocacy groups during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. They determined that Lerner organized an unprecedented crackdown on Tea Party and conservative groups and then attempted to scapegoat those nonprofits, blaming them for the harsh treatment they received at her instigation. ...

At DOJ, Kadzik also put the kibosh a year ago on any possible criminal prosecution of Lois Lerner. ... Kadzik was dismissive. "Ineffective management is not a crime," he wrote. "The Department of Justice's exhaustive probe revealed no evidence that would support a criminal prosecution. What occurred is disquieting and may necessitate corrective action — but it does not warrant criminal prosecution."

Kadzik wrote there was no proof of bad intent on Lerner's part and that she seemed to try to correct the inappropriately tough scrutiny on conservative and Tea Party nonprofits once she "recognized that it was wrong." "In fact, Ms. Lerner was the first IRS official to recognize the magnitude of the problem and to take concerted steps to fix it," he wrote. ...

Kadzik is tied to the Democratic Party Establishment and is a donor to Democrat candidates. Using his private Gmail account, on May 19, 2015, Kadzik tipped off John Podesta, Hillary's campaign chairman and former White House chief of staff in Bill Clinton's administration, about an upcoming hearing, according to a WikiLeaks document dump. ...

Earlier this year, WikiLeaks published a Sept. 8, 2008 email from Podesta, then serving on the Obama transition team, to Cassandra Butts of the Obama campaign. Podesta boasted in it that Kadzik — who represented him when he was accused of procuring a job for Bill Clinton paramour Monica Lewinsky as a way to keep her quiet — was a "fantastic lawyer" who "kept me out of jail." 


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November 13, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Editorial:  'Cowering Oregon Law Faculty Need To Learn What Decency, Tolerance And Diversity Really Look Like'

Oregon 2

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  

The Oregonian editorial, Straitjacketed at the University of Oregon:

Despite Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency, political correctness has risen nationally in recent years and placed a choke hold on communities that depend most on free speech and the freedom to fruitfully resolve differences. It's a damaging irony that's come home to Oregon.

In Eugene, at the University of Oregon, a law professor held a Halloween party at her off-campus house this year and wished to provoke a discussion about racism in society and some of its premier institutions. One of those institutions is Brown University, on the other side of the country, where the law professor's daughter attends medical school and had noted a lack of diversity. So University of Oregon School of Law Professor Nancy Shurtz, a tax specialist who'd previously chaired the law school's diversity committee, decided to "play" the protagonist in Dr. Damon Tweedy's memoir, Black Man in a White Coat, by greeting visitors in a white coat, stethoscope and blackface. Happy Halloween.

It didn't play out. Bad idea? Check. Miscalculation? Check. Offensive? In every way. Stupid, even? Yes. Black face is a relic of 19th Century theater and correctly viewed as a modern form of racist stereotyping. It's ugly. It's no joke. And it's no way to open a conversation, not even on Halloween: Putting on blackface is to grab the third rail against tolerance.

But was Shurtz' action malevolent? No. Racist? Unwittingly. Harmful? Yes, but not because it was so wrong-headed or because there was evidence offered by aggrieved individuals. Instead, the incident has become harmful to the brand of the law school, 23 of whose faculty members were so cowed by the event that they asked Shurtz to immediately resign. In shame. As an idiot. Significantly, as in: not one of them.

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November 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (13)

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

preLaw Magazine Grades Law Schools On Breadth Of Tax Curriculum:  2 A's, 9 A-'s, 8 B+'s

Prelaw 3Top Schools for Taxation, preLaw 49 (Fall 2016):

There has never been a more exciting time to be a tax lawyer.

That's straight from the mouth of Paul Caron, professor of law at Pepperdine university School of Law and the publisher of TaxProf Blog.

Employment prospects are currently and will likely remain high, compared to other areas of law, making the specialty a fairly safe one to enter. Tax law is not subject to booms and busts like real estate, said Caron.

"There are always tax needs, and tax professionals need to meet those needs," Caron said. "It's never really a booming practice, but the upside is, it's never really a down practice area."

One hundred and nine schools offer either concentrations or certificates in taxation, but just two schools earned A grades [90% or higher] from preLaw magazine for the breadth of their curricular offerings [30% for a concentration, 24% for a clinic, 12% for a center, 12% for an externship, 9% for a journal, 8% for a student group and 5% for a certificate]:  Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. ... Nine schools earned A- [75%-89%], and eight more earned B+.

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November 12, 2016 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools React To Donald Trump's Election

College Fix, UMich Law School Scrubs Post-Trump Play-Doh and Coloring Event From Website:

Like many other universities this week, the University of Michigan Law School scheduled an event designed to help students recover from the trauma of Republican Donald Trump’s election victory.


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November 12, 2016 in Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

The IRS Scandal, Day 1283:  IRS Handed Defeat in Court Ruling Against Tea Party Group It Stiffed

IRS Logo 2Townhall, IRS Handed Defeat in Court Ruling Against Tea Party Group It Stiffed:

The Texas Patriots Tea Party emerged as victor in its case against the IRS. On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Michael R. Barrett ruled that the agency must process TPTP's application for tax exempt status after a long (and seemingly politically motivated) delay.

It's now clear the IRS segregated TPTP's application in 2012 because it was a conservative political organization. It was just one instance in a larger scandal in which the IRS targeted conservatives and unfairly stalled their applications.

The agency has insisted it no longer practices such political bias, yet the court said that doesn't solve TPTP's issue. "Regardless of the fact the IRS purports to have stopped applying the inappropriate political advocacy criteria in 2013, the evidence is undisputed that the IRS continued to delay processing TPTP’s until August of 2016," the judge wrote in his decision."

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November 12, 2016 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Weekly Tax Highlight And Roundup

This week, Joe Kristan (CPA & Shareholder, Roth & Company (Des Moines, Iowa); Editor, Tax Update Blog) discusses a recent Tax Court case that illustrates the need for a “'sauce for the gander' rule that allows taxpayers to receive penalty payments from the IRS on the same basis as the IRS can impose penalties on taxpayers taking lame positions."

KristanI’ll take your house, but the money I give you is for sweeping it.

The keys will be extra. It’s common to see a Tax Court decision where you wonder why they bothered to go to the trouble of litigating. It’s unusual when the puzzling litigant is the IRS.

When the real estate bubble popped in 2008, mortgage lenders were swamped with borrowers who couldn’t keep up the payments. To deal with all of the repossessions, they came up with deals to encourage delinquent borrowers to leave quietly without wrecking the house.

A California couple took advantage of such a deal when they got underwater on a second home in North Carolina (my emphasis):

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November 11, 2016 in Tax, Weekly Tax Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly SSRN Tax Article Review And Roundup

This week, David Gamage (UC-Berkeley, moving to Indiana) reviews a new article by Susan Morse (Texas) and Eric Allen (USC), Innovation and Taxation at Start-Up Firms, Tax Law Review, Vol. 69, No. 3, 2016.

Gamage (2017)Tax planning occupies a substantial portion of the legal work done by businesses. But this does not mean that every business engages in significant tax planning. In their new paper, Morse and Allen show that early-stage startup companies have very low appetites for tax planning.

The essence of how they reach this conclusion is rather simple. Early-stage startup companies are resource constrained. These companies cannot pursue all avenues for maximizing future profitability, and must instead focus only on those tasks that have the most immediate payout or the highest potential for very large future payouts. Many forms of profitable tax planning do not meet these criteria.

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November 11, 2016 in Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekly Legal Education Roundup